## Sunday, October 07, 2007

### personal

went out tonight. was terrific. canadian bands traveling the land (it rhymes!) played tonight. on the way home we passed some people on the sidewalk outside a posh place going on about the homeless plight in the city. one of them quoted our recently previous premiere, ralph "the clown" klein. he was telling the story, as if it were something great, about how klein had stopped his limo whilst completely smashed (as in "drunk out of his skull") to berate the homeless at a shelter by telling them to "go get jobs, you bums!".

i had to stop. i had to call him down for the idiot he was being.

see, people love to look superior. the easiest way to do that when you aren't is to quote others who have positions of gifted authority. the hard way is to actually come up with something actually brilliant. i feel compelled to debate when they don't.

tonight their women came to my defense and tried to explain to me that they had been drinking .. blah blah blah blah blah ... and i should just move on because their men were soooo dangerous , obviously.

i don't negotiate with terrorists. (that's a g. w. bush joke.) or drunk idiots. (same difference?)

so, while very much appreciating their protection, i told their girlfriends that i've been in much more dangerous situations in my life and really ... if i didn't stand up for the city i lived in who would? when would i?

so the fellow came over and said he was from the east where everyone was a bum, so why would he say something like that in seriousness? insert laughter. at which point i asked him, "exactly. why would you?" re-enter the aggression and the girlfriends.

one fellow asked who i was to come in with all the big words (indeed, "espouse" is a big word isn't it?) and then another spotted the kde pin i was wearing and said ... "go back to linux land!"

i paused.

"wow," said i, "that's so cool. you recognized. good for you." and i turned away back home.

witness the power of the kde logo ;)

i have to say ... being in a situation like that and having someone actually notice, know and verbalize the kde identity, it made me feel enthused. recently, i have been thinking about how to deal with all the shallow and short-sighted behaviour, much the same as which i witnessed tonight, in the technology community.

Anonymous said...

I really don't understand why people act like that, even when drunk. I mean, I live in Munich and currently it's Oktoberfest which means drunkenness has prevailed many times but I've still not felt the urge to cause trouble.

Oh and by the way, I saw Stars and Broken Social Scene last week... You're right, Canadian music rocks!!!

Matthias Kretz said...

Most of the time I (and most people I know/observe) deal with it by ignoring it. Which is actually kind of sad.

But you mentioned the problem: what authority do I have over other people to be able to correct them? Is it because I have superior education or character or something else? If I have authority, how is it possible to make people acknowledge that and listen to me?

I don't have answers to those questions, so I continue to ignore - in order to not get too mad about the world.

Michael Tabolsky said...

wow..
Now I am going to buy a KDE tshirt.

Anonymous said...

Happened to me. Just call the police, that's part of their job, isn't it ?

Sebastian said...

Welcome to the world where Linux is mainstream. Utter morons recognise it out of context.

We're doing something good. And thanks for standing up, Aaron.

-- sebas

Anonymous said...

Looks like the president needs some bodyguards. Ghetto Trolls where are you? ;)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for carrying your ethics with you even on a night out in the town.

It's sad to see people flaunt their ignorance by attacking the most disadvantaged in society, but it's refreshing to see that I am not the only person willing to confront a stranger who is spouting venom.

In Spain, every November 20th, we get some assholes who go out on the street and shout their love for Franco and fascism to the winds.

Most of these idiots that come out to celebrate Fascism did not have to live for forty years under that ruthless dictatorship and most were not even born when Spain's despotic dictator finally died.

Unfortunately, too many Spaniards refuse to confront these idiots with some knowledge of history either out of fear or indifference.

Mark and Jaye said...

You go little Bro....we can change this world one person at a time!!
Hugs
Jaye

martin said...

that actually made me laugh, which is kinda bad since there's someone in front of me trying to teach me $W_{1cm}=\int^10_0kxdx=1$ (in tex obviously), and there's a lot of people around me looking at me like I'm some kind of weirdo. They are obviously right. You should've asked for directions for linux land, btw, I suspect it's close to finland.
But I like the morale in your story.
Oh, and we have oktoberfest here in trondheim today too, anonymous.

Macropode said...

For some, tribalism is a manifestation of personal insecurity. As part of the tribe, you gain a (false) sense of self-worth, you become more powerful. Showing that you're part of the tribe is important to bolster your own legitimacy as a member, and often involves participating in defending the tribe's ideological borders by attacking and making scapegoats of those perceived to be different (homeless people, other ethnic groups, people involved with "that other" Free software project, etc). Ignore logic and empathy, and you can strengthen your position in the tribe by sticking simplistic labels on these "others", emphasising their "otherness" (and thus their lack of perceived worth). I.e. the homeless are just "bums" and you're one of those wierdos from "Linux-land", Mr. Seigo.

Unfortunately, smarter people don't always see the big picture, they sometimes just find smarter ways of expressing their bigotry through intellectually dishonest argument. This seems to be an ugliness currently coming to the fore within the Free software community, now that Free software is heading towards the mainstream and the stakes are getting higher. It's something entirely different to good, healthy competetiveness, and it's an approach taken by people who don't have the guts to embrace co-operation when co-operation would be mutually beneficial.

It's fine to be passionate about something you believe in, except when belief makes logic it's slave.

This view is entirely my own, and I hope I haven't given anyone the idea that I actually know what I'm talking about. :)

Anonymous said...

You can try to reverse engineer what's going on in those minds: If you don't have reliable informations, you'll feed the system with a probe and watch the outcome. Give KBlackbox a try. ;)

For simple systems with just a few variables it works pretty well, e.g. if you guess you're observed by video, but can't discover the cams, you can show off your ass or do other weird things (okay, that's very far fetched.. ;) The police won't help much in this case though, as you don't have hard facts.

But I doubt, one will ever get reliable insights in other people's mind. Even if you would make exactly the same experiences as the other and are exposed the same environmental influences (needs the other's lifetime btw ;) you wouldn't be able to, as, fortunately, your genetic disposition differ. So, you can only guess!